Draft guidance published today sets out how clauses in the Energy Bill requiring operators of new nuclear power stations to meet the full cost of decommissioning and their full share of waste management costs would work.
Companies would be required to demonstrate detailed and costed plans for decommissioning, waste management and disposal, set money aside into a secure and independent fund from day one of generating electricity and have additional security in place to supplement the Fund should it be insufficient, for example, if the power station closes early.
In ensuring these safeguards, the business secretary John Hutton will draw on expert advice from the soon to be established Nuclear Liabilities Financing Assurance Board.
"It is in the national interest that the energy industry is able to invest in secure low carbon energy sources," said Hutton.
"But it is also in the national interest that we take every step to ensure that the taxpayer is protected from the clean up costs down
the line. The Energy Bill and the guidance published today make clear that companies are liable by law to meet their full costs."
The draft guidance, published for consultation, will assist businesses in understanding their obligations under the Energy Bill,
and what is required for a Funded Decommissioning Programme to gain approval.
This consultation on the draft guidance ends in May 2008 and follows the publication of the White Paper on Nuclear Power on 10 January 2008. The White Paper announced the Government's formal response to the consultation on the future of nuclear power and that it
would be in the public interest to allow energy companies the option of investing in new nuclear power stations.
NCE's Nuclear Decommissioning conference takes place at the Renaissance Hotel in Manchester on Wednesday 5 March.
Go to www.ncenuclear.co.uk or call 0845 056 8069 to register.